Amherst Comets in search of a Baron Cup II three-peat

The task on the ice will be much more difficult for the Amherst Comets this season, but the goal remains the same — to win the Baron Cup II.

Amherst only brings back three players from a team that won its second-straight Baron Cup II last season. Two of the players returning were the Comets’ leading scorers from a year ago in White League Player of the Year Connor Morris and first-team All-White League Kevin Burgett.

Even with a young roster, the expectation and goal hasn’t changed. The difference is coach Steve Morris will have to rely on a young group of defensemen in front of freshman goaltender Kevin Kuhn to have another big season.

“The offense can get spread out between three, four or five guys,” Coach Morris said. “From a defensive standpoint, we need our two freshmen who are playing defense (Joe Masters and Spencer Reavis) to step up and our freshman goalie being more key to our success.”

Connor Morris, who had 49 goals and 125 points last season, returns as one of three seniors along with Burgett and defenseman Jordan Reynolds to help bring along the younger players. He wants to make sure the rest of the team understands the expectations that have come with the success of the last two seasons.

“I think all of our seniors have done a really good job of taking the leadership and leading the young guys,” Connor Morris said. “I hope to pass that (winning tradition) along. We’ve got a lot of guys with not much experience. We try real hard to bring the winning attitude to the entire team.

“I know all these guys want to win and they want to try their hardest. So it won’t be too difficult I think to get them to really get focused in and be just as successful as we were in past years.”

To be able to make it a three-peat of the Baron Cup II championship, Amherst will have to take care of business in the White League against talented opponents like North Olmsted, Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy and Solon, who the Comets defeated in last year’s Baron Cup II championship. Also in the White League this season are Elyria Catholic, who drops down from the Red League, and Westlake in its first season as a member of the GCHSHL.

Coach Morris feels if his team can focus on self-improvement in its weakest areas, they have a chance to navigate their way to another championship

“It’s hard to tell so early,” he said. “But if our defense and our goaltending holds up, I think our offense may take care of itself. I think EC’s very experienced with some of the guys they’ve got. Westlake’s team is very experienced, North Olmsted is very good.

“From our side of the standpoint, it’s going to be very tough for us to do that ... I think it’s going to be very difficult for us to repeat, but I don’t think it’s going to be from a lack of effort from the young guys.”

The Comets are off to a good start this season, winning their first two games over Normandy and Elyria Catholic by a combined score of 18-2. Coach Morris likes the progression his young players have made in just the first few weeks of practice leading into the early portion of the season.

“It’s fun to watch, actually, from a coaching standpoint,” he said. “It would have been fun to videotape them a couple of weeks ago to where they’re at now."

@Bielik_Tim

Last Updated: 12/6/2012 7:49:33 PM EST

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